Gainesville, Fla. – The Institute for Public Relations is thrilled to announce the addition of two new Trustees to its Board: Charlene Wheeless, Principal Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs for Bechtel; and Matt Bianco, Head of Corporate Public Affairs for Novelis.

Charlene A. Wheeless is principal vice president of global corporate affairs for Bechtel Corporation, one of the leading engineering, procurement, and construction companies in the world. Bechtel has annual revenue of $25.5 billion and employs more than 50,000 people around the world. Charlene is responsible for global communications, issues and reputation management, stewardship, and public affairs. She serves on the company’s ethics and knowledge management committees, as well as the boards of the Bechtel PAC and Bechtel Group Foundation. Before joining Bechtel in 2009, Charlene was vice president of communications for the Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS) business unit of Raytheon Company as well as the site executive of its Falls Church, Va. facility. In these positions she oversaw global public relations, advertising, media relations, marketing communications, employee communications, and community relations, and served as the lead executive responsible for facility operations, security and quality audits, and employee morale.

Prior to her years with Raytheon, Charlene was senior vice president of global communications and marketing for American Management Systems (AMS) and corporate vice president of communications at DynCorp. She also held executive and staff positions with PRC, Inc. (later acquired by Northrop Grumman Corporation), Steuart Petroleum Company, and IBM Corporation.

Charlene was named by PR Week magazine one of the 50 most influential PR professionals in the industry for four consecutive years. She was also named to the PR Hall of Femme, the PR Global Power Book, and the 2017 National Journal “25 Influential Black Women in Business.” Earlier, she was named a “Woman Worth Watching” by the nationally known Profiles in Diversity magazine, and a “Women Who Mean Business” honoree by the Washington Business Journal.

Active in the community, Charlene is immediate past chairman of the Greater Reston (Virginia) Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Board of Trustees for HCA Reston Hospital, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Arthur W. Page Society. She also serves on the committee of The Seminar, the premier organization of the highest-ranking global communications and public affairs executives. Previously, she was on the advisory board of the George Washington Virginia Campus, a board member for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, and a commissioner on the Loudoun County (Virginia) Economic Development Authority.

Charlene graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and public r elations. She earned a master’s degree in public communications at American University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree in business administration at Keller Graduate School of Management. Charlene lives in Ashburn, Virginia with her husband and two dogs and has two adult children who live in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Follow Charlene on Twitter @charwheeless.

Matt Bianco is currently the Head of Corporate Public Affairs for Novelis, Inc., the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling with operations in 10 countries, approximately 11,000 employees and reported $12.3 billion in revenues for its 2019 fiscal year.

In this role, Matt oversees all externally facing corporate communications and public affairs activities, including media relations, government affairs, corporate social responsibility and reputation management. Prior to this role, Matt served as the head of Novelis’ North America region where he led all communications and established the region’s government affairs practice.

Prior to Novelis, Matt held various leadership positions at Pfizer Inc., where he was Senior Director, Corporate Affairs. In this role, he developed and executed a diverse range of enterprise-wide communications programs and initiatives. In addition, he provided communications and operational support to senior executives and managed Pfizer’s corporate brand identity.

Prior to Pfizer, Matt was Director of Government Relations at Columbia University in New York City, where he oversaw the legislative, policy and advocacy agendas for the University at the city, state and federal levels. Matt began his career at the White House in Washington, D.C., as a Legislative Assistant to Vice President Al Gore. He later moved to the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, serving as a liaison to the Senate for President Bill Clinton.

Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

About the Institute for Public Relations
Founded in 1956, the Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR creates, curates, and promotes research and initiatives that empower professionals with actionable insights and intelligence they can put to immediate use.  IPR predicts and analyzes global factors transforming the profession, and amplifies and engages the professional globally through thought leadership and programming. All research is available free at and provides the basis for IPR’s professional conferences and events.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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